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Michael Rosen's A to Z

The Best Children's Poetry from Agard to Zephaniah
by Michael Rosen

Former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, gathers together the best children’s poetry from Agard to Zephaniah in this new collection.

There is a poet for every letter of the alphabet, although there are a few exceptions for trickier letters, where Rosen has played around and given the reader something extra to think about!

From Grace Nichol’s poem about her Caribbean gran visiting England to Rosen’s own hilarious account of his father’s intolerance to ‘The Noise’, there are poems to entertain everyone.

A brilliant book for dipping in and out of and a wonderful opportunity for getting to know a diverse range of British poets.


Publisher: Puffin




Ride with me
On this lyrical roller coaster
My syllable slices
Will feed your hunger
As they pop up and down
Like a Jamaican toaster

Chilling in my simile cocoon
Just biding my time
The moment is perfect
Let’s get ready to rhyme

Watch your step
As my Webb is spun
Drop your baggage at check in
The lighter you travel
The more fun

Submerge yourself, in this
Lip-hop metaphor
Resistance is futile,
As I hold the key to the door

I leave you tongue-tied like Houdini
You’ll never escape my barrel of words
Your belly expands with laughter
As you guzzle on my contagious verbs

My acid adjectives
Hack deep into your heart
Reprogramming your software
Be afraid!
Be very afraid
For this is just the start

You’ll be my reluctant patient
And I’ll play the over enthusiastic nurse
Drip feeding rhythm and rhyme
Through my life saving verse

Bringing forth gifts of expression
With the knowledge of 3 wise men
Verbalizm is the one Like Nio
Now five plus four equals ten

Verbalizm is the ultimate fighter
A lion that can’t be tamed
A fusion of text and colour
This canvas is too big to be framed

There’ll be no light limericks
This operation is far too serious for that
Lights, camera, action!
Cut! . . .
Now that’s what I call a Rap!

Ad-libbing like a master chef
Preparing food, to serenade the nose
One whiff of this concoction
Leaves you spellbound, by my Moorish prose




The Soldiers Came

The soldiers came
and dropped their bombs.
The soldiers didn’t take long
to bring the forest down.

With the forest gone
the birds are gone.
With the birds gone
who will sing their song?

But the soldiers forgot
to take the forest
out of the people’s hearts.
The soldiers forgot
to take the birds
out of the people’s dreams.
And in the people’s dreams
the birds still sing their song.

Now the children
are planting seedlings
to help the forest grow again.
They eat a simple meal of soft rice
wrapped in banana leaf.
And the land welcomes their smiling
like a shower of rain.

John Agard

About the author

Michael Rosen

Children's Laureate 2007-2009

Michael Rosen is one of the best-known figures not only in the children's book world but also the British arts scene. His first book of children's poems was published in 1974, and he has gone on to write numerous award winning children's poetry books, picture books and non-fiction, such as Quick, Let's Get Out of Here and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Alongside this he performs, teaches, lectures, presents Word of Mouth on Radio 4 and reviews books for the Guardian. In 2007, Michael was appointed the fifth Children's Laureate - a role which he says will be used to be an 'ambassador of fun'.

Michael Rosen
Michael Rosen

Video & audio

  • Michael Rosen's A to Z Booked Up video

  • Michael Rosen's A to Z Booked Up video (signed version)

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